Newbs will never know what the Leaf Blower was, but it was unofficially Nvidia’s major stinker of a GPU: the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra. The card was unique not just for disappointing performance against its contemporaries, it was also loud in 3D mode. Several staff members ran the FX 5800 Ultra as a way proof that they weren’t just goofing off all the time. That’s because firing up 3D on the Ultra spun the fan to high RPM levels and immediately everyone within 15 feet know that you were playing a game instead of working.
2: Kenwood 40x40 Zen Drive
Should we date ourselves? When we first saw the Kenwood 40x40 drive, we were blown away by its CD-ROM performance. (Yes, we said CD-ROM.) Using a revolutionary multi-beam technology the Kenwood Zen drive could offer you 40x performance across the entire platter of a CD-ROM (Yes, we said CD-ROM). Unfortunately, production versions of the drive had issues reading CD-R discs and even worse, as the months wore on, many, many reported the drives going Tango Uniform. Ultimately, Maximum PC’s own Watchdog had to intercede, a class-action suit was filed and well, that was the end of the Zen technology which had marched all the way up to 72x CD-ROM speeds (Yes, we said CD-ROM.)
3. Gigabyte S1NXP1394
Buy an Intel CPU today and, well, you have to buy an Intel chipset in your motherboard. But way back in the day of the Socket 478, there were options. Although not known for performance, SiS produced a highly competitive chipset for the Pentium 4 platform. This Gigabyte S1NXP1394 board used the SiS 655 with such eye-opening features as dual-channel DDR SDRAM support and AGP 8X. At the time, Intel was still trying to recover from the open revolt it faced over RDRAM. Chipsets such as the SiS 655 forced Intel to offer its work-station Granite Bay E7205 chipset to consumers. Intel didn’t really have a handle on the chipset market again until it introduced the outstanding 875P “Canterwood” chipset.
4. We're Not Entirely Sure
Star Wars has the Clone Wars and, well, the PC has the RAM Wars. Back in the day, Intel stepped on a landmine when it tried to convert the PC industry to Direct RDRAM. Like Star Wars, an open revolt began. With its Pentium 4 designed only to work with RDRAM, Intel had to resort to such crazy Rube Goldberg devices as this. And what is this device? It’s a memory module outfitted with standard SDRAM and Intel’s ill-fated Memory Translator Hub. The MTH, as old farts will recall, was the problematic chip that forced Intel to spend several hundred million dollars to recall all of them. We actually don’t remember if this specimen here actually went to market, but it was intended to slot into motherboards that had RIMM slots and let them run SDRAM. For the record, we believe that Intel was right today. RDRAM likely would have offered far faster performance than DDR and DDR2.